house is within walking distance to Apartheid Museum (1.4 kms.)
accommodation click HERE
The Apartheid Museum opened
in 2001 and is acknowledged as the pre-eminent museum in the world dealing with
20 th century South Africa , at the heart of which is the apartheid story.
In 1995 the South African government set up a process for the granting of
casino licenses, establishing an agency to do this called the Gambling Board.
The bid documents stipulated that bidders should demonstrate how they would
attract tourism and thereby grow the economy and stimulate job creation.
A consortium, called Akani Egoli, put in a bid that included the commitment
to building a museum. Their bid was successful, the Gold Reef City casino was
built and an adjacent piece of land given for the construction of a museum.
a few hours at the Apartheid Museum you will feel that you were in the townships
in the '70s and '80s, dodging police bullets or teargas canisters, or marching
and toyi-toyiing with thousands of school children, or carrying the body of a
comrade into a nearby house.
extraordinarily powerful museum, certain to become one of Johannesburg's most
important tourist attractions, has become an obligatory stop for tourists and
Museum, with its large blown-up photographs, metal cages and numerous monitors
recording continuous replays of apartheid scenes set in a double volume ceiling,
concrete and red brick walls and grey concrete floor, is next to the Gold Reef
City Casino, five kilometres south of the city centre
museum's director, Christopher Till, says: "It is appropriate that the
first apartheid museum in South Africa should open in Johannesburg, where at the
turn of the century there was a convergence of people for a range of different
people were displaced from the land through colonial wars and the imposition of
poll taxes, and white farmers were displaced through the Anglo Boer War,"
museum came about as part of a casino bid seven years ago. Bidders were obliged
to include a social responsibility project, and the winning consortium indicated
that they would build a museum.
was committed to the building of the museum by the consortium," says Till.
"The consortium is committed to the running costs of the museum for a
further two years, by which time they would have spent around R100-million on
Museum occupies approximately 6 000 square metres on a seven-hectare site which
consists of natural recreated veld and indigenous bush habitat containing a lake
and paths, alongside its stark but stunning building.
synergy between the natural element and the building finish of plaster,
concrete, red brick, rusted and galvanised steel, creates a harmonious
relationship between the structure and the environment," says chairman of
the Museum board, John Kani.
that moment of reconciliation: Nelson Mandela, wearing the Number 6 jersey,
hands over the William Web Ellis trophy to Springbok captain Francois Pienaar.
South Africa had just won the 1995 Rugby World Cup - and much more: finally, it
seemed, the country had come together as one.
multi-discipliniary team of curators, filmmakers, historians, museologists and
designers has been assembled to develop the exhibition narrative which sets out
by means of blown-up photographs, artefacts, newspaper clippings, and film
footage, to graphically animate the apartheid story.
for the Museum are plastic credit-card size cards indicating either
"Non-white" or "White", and with one in your hand, you know
you have begun a harrowing journey.
you swing through the turnstile on your historical journey from the early
peoples of South Africa to the birth of democracy in the country, cages greet
you, and inside the cages are blown-up copies of early identity cards, identity
books and the hated passbooks and racially tagged identity cards.
rest of the Museum is just as graphic:
- A large yellow and blue police armoured vehicle, nicknamed a "casspir",
in which you can sit and watch footage taken from inside the vehicle driving
through the townships.
- Dangling from the roof, 121 nooses representing the political prisoners
hanged during apartheid.
- A June 16, 1976 room with a curved wall of monitors showing footage of
that day from around the world.
- A cage full of dreadful weapons that were used by the security forces to
- Footage of a remarkable 1961 BBC interview with Nelson Mandela when he was
in hiding from the authorities, as well as footage of prime minister Hendrik
Verwoerd addressing a crowd in English, explaining how the country could be
happily ruled only when the races were separated.
times you feel overwhelmed by the screens and the sound and the powerful images
they are projecting. The Museum leads you through room after room in a zigzag of
shapes, some with tall roofs, some dark and gloomy, some looking through to
other images behind bars or cages that make it clear that apartheid was evil.
just when you feel you can't tolerate the bombardment of your senses any longer,
you reach a quiet space, with a glass case which contains a book of the
post-apartheid Constitution, and pebbles on the floor.
can express your solidarity with the victims of apartheid by placing your own
pebble on a pile. You'll then walk out into a grassland with paths which take
you to a small lake - you'll need this reflective time.
is also a recording studio in which visitors can leave their experiences under
apartheid, if they had any, for others to hear.
is not only important to tell the apartheid story, but it is also important to
show the world how we have overcome apartheid. There certainly is a lesson for
other countries, and this will be related through the complexity and sheer power
of the installations," explains Till.
displays in the Museum are ongoing and incomplete - the history of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission is still to be displayed; personal stories will
continually be included; the role of Helen Suzman in South Africa's history is
to be expanded.
overriding message is to show local and international visitors the perilous
results of racial prejudice and how this, in the case of South Africa, nearly
destroyed the country and in so doing destroyed people's lives and caused
enormous suffering," says Kani.
architectural consortium consisting of five leading architectural teams was
assembled to design the museum. "The building is a triumph of design, space
and landscape fused into creating a building of international
significance," says Kani.
agrees. "The building itself has power, which is what is needed to put
across the powerful message the Museum has to offer. It is the most important
public building to be built in the last 20 years."
says the response so far to the Museum has been "enormously encouraging.
One of the people involved in the Holocaust Museum in Washington has seen our
Museum, and responded by saying we have achieved something special here".